Since the tragic killing of George Floyd on May 25, our staff have been in deep listening mode — thinking and discussing internally how to most effectively act in solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives in the pursuit of racial justice.
We continue to mourn the incessant violence enacted by police on the unarmed bodies of black citizens such as Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Rayshard Brooks and so many more. As our collective resistance grows, we are witness to the tactics of intimidation, escalation, and excessive force used by agents of the state against protesters. The broader systemic failure of these publicly funded agencies, allegedly tasked to serve and protect, is being laid bare.
We affirm that there will be no justice in this country until we acknowledge that all black lives matter and we begin to reshape our institutions in support of that belief. The scope of policing must be reduced, while the reach of social services, health care, education, and cultural activities must grow. The coming reinvestment in communities will require a critical anti-racist approach, if we are to move together towards justice.
As a nonprofit organization at the intersection of art, science, and technology, we acknowledge that the nonprofit industrial complex, the arts sector, the production of scientific knowledge, and the development of technological innovation are all embedded within oppressive systems that have perpetuated white supremacy. As an historically white-led institution, we carry a legacy of privilege that must be examined, unpacked, and reorganized in order to move forward in service of equity and justice. Working with media artists who are experimenting with emerging technologies and new tools, our work is fraught with technological fetishism and obsession with novelty. With our gaze oriented towards the future, we can either blindly pursue creative innovation in service of inequitable resource accumulation, or we can choose to apply our creativity to reimagine a more just, inclusive world. Our call to action is clear.
We have begun a strategic planning process that will provide a framework for change in our organization, taking into account contemporary conditions: the growing momentum of the movement for racial equity in our home communities and the localization of activity due to the pandemic. As we embark on this work, we commit to the following actions:
As members of our community, we rely on your perspective and collective wisdom to guide us in our work. We invite your comments and reflections on the work we have done and the proposed actions above. Please be in touch and share your thoughts so that we may refine our efforts.
ZERO1 hosted Moscow-based street artist Slava PTRK from October-November 2019 through the CEC ArtsLink Fellowship. During their residencies, Fellows have the opportunity to research and develop community-based projects, present new art practices from their regions and spark collaborative projects with U.S. artists.
What were you researching in San Francisco as a CEC ArtsLink Fellow?
The main topic of my research was the theme of police violence and the relationship between society and the police system in the United States. For this purpose, I met with people from social justice organizations, with artists and curators, and also independently studied this subject on open sources on the Internet.
In addition to the main topic, I got acquainted with local street and contemporary art, and tried to understand what life in the United States and in California in particular is like. I took up a very extensive and complex topic, so while in residence I tried not only to get specialized information on the topic of law enforcement, but also to get acquainted with the American lifestyle and way of thinking in general.
What was something surprising you discovered as a result of your research?
I just started my research, but I realized that the American law enforcement system and their Russian colleagues have much more in common than I thought. This surprised me - for all the differences between these two countries and the two systems, they really have many common problems and ambiguous moments.
But there are also some significant differences. For example, Russia doesn’t have such a large number of human rights organizations. I was surprised at how many different organizations and community groups are active in the United States. I was also surprised that many of these groups are engaged in specialized human rights activities - for example, protecting the rights of women and transgender people in California prisons. It is great and I would be glad if in Russia there was such variety of the human rights organizations.
What did you notice about the street art scene in San Francisco that's similar to or different from the one in Moscow or Yekaterinburg where you're from?
I was interested and curious to discover Latin American style murals – I’ve never seen anything like it. Many of them are made in bright colors and dedicated to famous people from the spheres of culture, science, politics or made in memory of victims (victims of war, revolution or police brutality). I have collected a quite big collection of photos of such works, and I will try to use them as inspiration in my future projects.
In San Francisco, there are not so many façade-sized murals, which is currently very popular around the world. There are more Latin American murals and classic graffiti works hiding in small alleys between major streets. At the same time, I still managed to find several large high-quality drawings on the façades of houses in the city center, made by famous American and foreign artists.
This is quite different from Russia - our street art is not like Latin American style murals (I see Precita Eyes Muralists doing some in this style), we use a smaller palette of colors and often work illegally, which affects the quality of the details. Also, our classic graffiti (where you write your name on the wall) is different from California - here it is richer, more diverse, brighter and more interesting.
Did you learn or experience anything during your time in San Francisco that you'll incorporate into your future practice?
Before this trip I’d never had such a long and deep immersion in the culture and life of another country. And although my English is far from perfect, I still managed to learn a lot about America and the people living here during my stay in California.
In addition, I improved my skills in independent work and how to self-organize my workflow, research schedule, meetings and much more. And, of course, all of the public speeches, lectures and meetings were very interesting and useful for me. I was happy to test myself (in presentations) and meet a lot of interesting people (and have the chance to work with them). It was an invaluable and important experience, now I will feel more confident during foreign and Russian trips.
What was a memorable moment of cultural exchange you experienced during your time in San Francisco?
My host Shamsher and I conceived the idea of making a drawing on the folding gates at the entrance to the Gray Area. A consideration was the pre-existing graffiti from local graffiti artists that was already there. My idea was to make one of the works from a series of recursions - in this case, I don’t destroy the original image on the wall, but reproduce it with maximum accuracy, copying it inside itself, creating the illusion of depth and volume on a flat surface.
However, the graffiti artist, the author of the previous image, did not understand my idea and was against any changes to his piece. In this situation, Shamsher, some Gray Area staff, and I had to use all the diplomatic and persuasive skills we possessed. The author of the previous piece was furious when we didn’t wait for his answer since I had to leave the city in a couple of days, and I had to begin to make the new work. He made threats, promised to restore his work to the same place, and demanded a check from me as financial compensation. However, when the artist came the next day to paint over my finished piece, he saw that I hadn’t destroyed his drawing, but saved his name and upgraded it. It radically changed his attitude to me and to the whole situation.
We went from aggression and threats of physical violence to offers of friendship and benevolence. In the end, everything was good - I made the work, and the author of the original drawing expressed his respect and gratitude to me after seeing the final result. It was an interesting experience – I’ve never before had such long discussions with the project team to find the best solution in a difficult situation like this, as well as to conduct such unpredictable and intense negotiations with the conflicting side. Usually I either ignore such problems, or solve them in an aggressive manner, going into open conflict. I am glad that in this case we have gone the way of peace. I can say with confidence that this experience of peaceful resolution of the conflict and finding a compromise will affect my future projects.
Anything else you want to share?
I just would like to say thanks to Shamsher and Maya at ZERO1, Gray Area, and CounterPulse for all the hospitality and friendliness with which you met me in San Francisco. I am very glad that you were my hosts and I hope, no, I’m sure that we will do a few great art-projects in the near future together.
This city-wide pilot project, produced by Lava Mae and ZERO1 and created by contemporary artist John Craig Freeman and Sound Made Public, seeks to build a bridge of shared humanity between neighbors – housed and unhoused.
As San Francisco finds itself embodying both the best of human capacity and the worst, our unrelenting crisis around housing insecurity and the houseless has come to define us as sharply as our innovation and entrepreneurship.
WE ARE ALL NEIGHBORS
Most of us know little about our unhoused neighbors – those we see and the many more who are invisible – their stories, or what’s required to navigate these challenging circumstances.
Most of us don’t realize that the majority of our houseless neighbors are unhoused due to circumstances beyond their control, such as eviction, and that homelessness is only a temporary experience for most.
coming home invites viewers to immerse themselves in a choice of eight life-size virtual scenes from across San Francisco neighborhoods, meet a full range of their houseless neighbors, and hear their stories – from life on the street to holding a job, as a student or an elder, and from the point of view of those who have successfully moved beyond what is, foremost, a temporary situation.
The 8 augmented reality scenes of coming home can be experienced through the Layar app at different locations throughout San Francisco. The piece is also available on Apple devices no matter the user’s location. The scenes are available as individual apps through the Apple App store by searching “coming home lava mae.”
About Lava Mae
Lava Mae is a San Francisco-based nonprofit innovating to transform lives in the world of homelessness and disrupt the way communities see and serve our unhoused neighbors around the globe. For more information, visit lavamaex.org.
ZERO1: the art and technology network leverages technology, art, and science to create social change. Over the past five years, ZERO1 has utilized community-driven digital and new media art projects to instigate dialogue, build communities, bolster local economies, and further social innovation. Learn more at zero1.org.
This has been a momentous year. 2017 has put our institutions to the test and demanded action in the streets. Making meaning in the midst of the turmoil, we have been reimagining what civic action looks like. Working in collaboration with government and individual citizens, ZERO1 has supported artists across the globe who are applying their creativity to the challenges their communities face.
This year ZERO1 artists made art that mattered: addressing homelessness in San Jose; improving disability inclusion in Moscow; championing economic equity in Guatemala City; probing water quality in Bangkok; cultivating peace in Medellín; promoting environmental health in Phnom Penh. More than ever before, we see the importance of connecting communities directly so that we may share approaches and align our efforts.
Our work is no longer just about enhancing our capacity with technology, exploring new truths with science, and representing beauty with art. We must now also repurpose our tools, apply our knowledge, and demonstrate how art can help us envision a sustainable future. To that end, here’s what we’ve been up to, by the numbers:
6 countries were sites of creative collaboration
32 projects applied art, science, and technology to social and environmental challenges
$20,000 in small grants awarded to community led-projects
$42,300 in fees paid directly to artists
$60,480 in artist travel expenses covered
68,456 miles flown to connect artists face-to-face
28.2 tons of carbon offsets purchased
5,964 people interacted with art that opened their awareness
We’re grateful to be supported by a growing community that cares deeply about using creative tools to build engaged and vibrant communities. As we step up to new challenges in the year to come, we ask that you stand with us, and renew your commitment to art that expands our vision for what is possible.
Board Chair and President, ZERO1
ZERO1 is going through an exciting transformation. We’ve seen some dramatic shifts in the Silicon Valley arts and technology scene and are making bold moves to take advantage of these changes in unique and powerful ways. With the closure of the Garage in July 2015, we officially moved away from producing the ZERO1 Biennial and will be launching a set of new programs. As a result of these adjustments to our focus and direction, we will be redefining our current mission statement in the coming months. Stay tuned. Our goal is to more fully nurture the rich art and technology network we’ve built over the years, focusing that collective power on our society’s biggest challenges. Ultimately, we aim to build more engaged and vibrant communities, not only here in Silicon Valley, but across the nation and around the world. As you are all keenly aware, when art, technology, and science collide, we see provocative and powerful possibilities emerge. We’re excited about the possibilities that will take shape as we continue to promote, inspire and connect a wide array of the creative explorers in art, science and technology. It’s an exciting time and we’re glad to count you as a member of the ZERO1 family that will take this journey with us.
As the recently appointed interim executive director, I’d like to take this opportunity to share some my background as it relates to my current work at ZERO1. I first started working with ZERO1 in January 2016 as an Encore Executive Fellow after retiring from a 41-year career at Hewlett-Packard, leading some of the company’s most innovative and technologically advanced businesses. Throughout that career, I came to understand the power of innovation and the essential role artists play in helping us to reimagine the world and the impacts our innovations might have. After this exciting career, ZERO1 was exactly the type of art and technology organization I wanted to be a part of. I am thrilled to be supporting its continued success. Since taking on the role of interim executive director earlier this year, I’ve worked with ZERO1’s board, staff, and strong network of community partners to take stock of the organization’s rich capabilities and assets, the program successes it enjoys, and the emerging needs and opportunities that lie ahead. I’ve drawn from my financial and business leadership experience at HP, as well as my work in social entrepreneurship. For many years, I worked to advocate, incubate, and support creativity and innovation that serves our community’s most pressing social needs and challenges. It’s been an honor to apply myself in service of ZERO1, carrying forward the leadership of an organization that is known for its innovative approach to bridging the worlds of art, science and technology. We have a strong foundation to build upon with ZERO1’s rich history of community-building Biennials, awe-inspiring public art installations, boundary-pushing Garage exhibits, and culturally rich American Arts Incubator exchanges.
The future is looking more and more promising as we expand our work with the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to extend the reach of our ZERO1 American Arts Incubator program. As we embark on the third year of the program, we’ll be sending American artists abroad to 5 countries where they will lead community-engaged new media and digital art projects. We’re also designing a local component of the program that will allow us to invite international collaborators back to the Bay Area for professional development and cross-pollination with their American peers. Our local programming will grow to include a range of collaborative Creative Communities Exhibits produced with our key Silicon Valley partners to showcase the thought-provoking and inspirational works of ZERO1 artists. There will be new opportunities for knowledge sharing with the launch of our Creative Explorers Summits, a program that will convene a broad, cross-sector group of creators in arts and technology to discuss global and local shifts underway in hybrid arts. Each of these programs will activate the many branches of our artist network to accelerate the building of more engaged and vibrant communities. We continue to develop internal strategy and are actively collaborating with our program partners, so you can expect more details to be coming your way in future blog updates.
As you can see, these are exciting times at ZERO1. Despite the rapid pace of change and the many moving parts of this evolving organization, transformation has energized us. ZERO1 is at its core, dynamic and adaptable. It's now more important than ever for us to walk the walk associated with risk-taking, creativity, incubation, and innovation. We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to present innovative year-round art programs at the ZERO1 Garage and now look forward to continuing to work with arts and technology communities to enhance the capacity of our programming as a premiere Silicon Valley and Bay Area arts organization.
P.S. Feel free to send us updates from your own unique creative explorations, adventures, and new works. We value your accomplishments and would like to share them with the community.
ZERO1 Friends and Family,
After eight years as Executive Director of ZERO1, I have decided to step down to set the stage for a next generation of leadership. It’s been quite the ride, but the time has come to turn my attention to new challenges including my own art practice. During my tenure, ZERO1 featured over 600 artists from around the world, emerging the ZERO1 Biennial as one of the most significant art and technology festivals in North America. I am proud of the many ZERO1 exhibitions, public art initiatives, Fellowship Program and the American Arts Incubator, all of which have provided unique platforms for artists to experiment, provoke, and inspire new strategies and critical discourse.
ZERO1 represents a network of organizational partners, stakeholders, funders, and individuals who relentlessly offered their guidance, support, and expertise. Thank you all. I often described my job as network facilitator, when actually it was the other way around.
Lastly, I want to acknowledge the ZERO1 Board of Directors and my incredible staff for their dedication to this amazing enterprise.
A note from the ZERO1 Board Chair, Barbara Goldstein
On behalf of ZERO1’s Board of Directors, I want to thank Joel Slayton for the important and ground-breaking work he has done for the organization, first as a founding board member and later as Executive Director. Since ZERO1’s inception, Joel has been a visionary leader who continually promoted new ways to showcase the work of groundbreaking artists who are working with technology and science to reflect and comment on the world around them. Joel built partnerships with industry, academia, and government bringing the power of art to hundreds of thousands through ZERO1's programs.
A recognized artist himself and former Director of CADRE Lab at San Jose State, Joel elevated ZERO1 to an international brand, perhaps better known beyond San Jose than in its own hometown. Beginning with the 2006 ZERO1 Biennial, when he chaired the International Symposium on Electronic Arts (ISEA), Joel’s clear vision brought the work of national and international curators and artists to a worldwide audience, stimulating dialogue and action.
After more than eight years as Executive Director of ZERO1, Joel has decided to move on to pursue other artistic and personal interests. Concurrently, ZERO1 is re-examining its core mission, moving away from producing a Biennial and seeking other ways to connect creative explorers in arts, science, and technologies to affect change in their own communities and beyond.
During this interim period, ZERO1 will be led by Brad Maihack, an Encore Executive Fellow and former HP executive, whose expertise in strategic business development, turnaround, partnerships, and alliance management will provide the organization with the skills it needs to face the future.
We wish Joel a bright and productive future and welcome Brad to ZERO1!
ZERO1 Board Chair